SRINAGAR, Sept 7: A protest erupted on Saturday after police said they killed two alleged militants and two civilians in India-held Kashmir.

Inspector General Nalin Prabhat said police were retaliating against alleged militants who had opened fire on a police camp in Shopian district, which is about 50km south of Srinagar.

Police claimed they recovered weapons and were working to identify the militants. They said two civilians were also killed and one person was injured in the shootout.

Hundreds of residents, disputing the police account, swarmed the streets of the main town in Shopian after the shooting. Police fired tear gas and used batons to disperse the crowds.

Adil Ahmed, a 26-year-old student shot twice in the stomach, said from a hospital that there were no militants, and that police opened fire without provocation. He said the two accused by police of being militants were actually students riding a motorcycle to an examination centre to take tests.

Just north of Shopian, suspected militants hurled a grenade at a group of law enforcement officers standing outside Pulwama district hospital, police said. Nine people were injured, including two civilians, they said. In Srinagar, paramilitary troops fired on a civilian when he failed to stop the car he was driving at a police barricade, according to police. The driver was hospitalised in critical condition.

Meanwhile, Srinagar was under tight security amid calls for a strike in protest against a Bavarian orchestra’s concert with renowned conductor Zubin Mehta. Kashmiri leaders said the concert served to divert attention from Kashmir’s problems.

Civil society groups organised an alternative concert in central Srinagar, where they were also showing photographs and giving speeches meant to highlight past years of violence and instability in the disputed region.—AP


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